Thursday, August 06, 2009

Link roundup

Since I keep falling further and further behind with the posts I want to put up, here are some links to stories that I had been intending to write about but didn't manage to get around to.

- Remember Sen. Inhofe's bogus global warming denial "report?" (See here and here.) As part of it's Credibility Project, the Center for Inquiry has done a semi-comprehensive study of the problems with the "report." (h/t Rationally Speaking)

- Democracy Now on an operative for the United States military having spied on anti-war groups in Washington. Needless to say (or, at least, needless to say to non-Fox News viewers), having the military performing police type activities against the domestic population is quite disturbing and at odds with our most fundamental democratic values.

- In my review of Inside the Wire I mentioned the IRF - a military riot unit - at Guantanamo having beat an undercover soldier so severely that he had to be hospitalized. Talking to Democracy Now, Jeremy Scahill reminds us that years later the unit is still up to its old tricks.

- One of the points that Darius Rejali made in the video lecture I posted was that despite the abuses at Abu Ghraib having been public, it was not until photographic evidence of the abuse became public that citizens were outraged enough to force government action on the abuse. This relates to a point that Scahill makes in the previous link about him not even knowing about the IRF until he started following the Spanish inquiry into Bush administration war crimes: if we had our news channels running footage of the IRF beating prisoners we likely would put a stop to it. But we don't.

Which is why, as Glenn Greenwald notes, that it is so important that the Obama administration be made to comply with its legal obligation to release photographic evidence of prisoner abuse so that citizens will become aware of what has happened in their name and demand accountability for it. Releasing the photos will be an important step towards dispelling the heinous lie of the Bush administration that the abuse that occurred at Abu Ghraib was the result of a "few bad apples" rather than a pattern of systemic abuse resulting from top down policy decisions.

- Another Greenwald post about 28 of 33 detainee Gitmo cases having been found by federal judges to have insufficient evidence to merit holding the detainee in prison. Really turn that over in your mind as you recall homicidal Fox News contributer Ralph Peters having said that the people held at Gitmo should be killed because "they aren't human anymore." But the thing is that Peters expressed merely the most grotesque version of an idea that is not just some fringe extremist view, but was an explicit campaign platform of the Republican Party: that persons designated "terrorists," "terrorist suspects," or "enemy combatants" should not have the universal human rights that are supposed to be the entire basis and philosophy of our system of government. This sentiment was expressed most vividly during the 2008 presidential campaign by "lipstick fascist" Sarah Palin when she said that Barack Obama was "worried someone won't read [terrorists] their rights."

As Frank Schaeffer puts its in the lipstick fascist link

Palin's is an attitude that places ideology and rabid nationalism above the law. For her, war trumps ethics. This attitude has turned America into a country that tortures prisoners, has put us on the wrong side of our Constitution, has taken the country that liberated Auschwitz and made it a place that now uses torture, intimidation and the desecration of human freedom as a means of war.

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